Health and Fitness

New Survey Shows Gap In Diagnosis And Treatment Of Osteoporosis Among Post-Menopausal Women Studied Who Were Hospitalized With Fractures

New results from a survey of 1, 122 post-menopausal women in Asia found that nearly half (48.5 percent) were not aware whether or not they had osteoporosis despite being hospitalized with a fragility fracture. A fragility fracture is one potential indicator of osteoporosis, along with BMD measurements, family history and other factors, according to International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF). Of the women who were told that they have osteoporosis (51.5 percent), 40.5 percent did not receive any treatment. The results of this survey, which was conducted in Hong Kong SAR, Thailand, South Korea, mainland China, Singapore, Malaysia and Taiwan region, were presented at the 1st Scientific Meeting of the Asian Federation of Osteoporosis Societies. The survey was conducted by MSD, also known in the United States and Canada as Merck. A fragility fracture occurs in a non-traumatic situation where bones would not break under normal force; these fractures are often considered a strong clinical indicator in the diagnosis of osteoporosis in post-menopausal women, along with other factors considered.

Sleep For Women With Hot Flashes Enhanced By Seizure Drug

Gabapentin, a drug initially used to treat seizures, improves sleep quality in menopausal women with hot flashes, University of Rochester Medical Center researchers report online and in the September issue of the Journal of Women's Health. Approximately 40 percent of menopausal women experience sleep disruption, often in the form of difficulty with sleep initiation and frequent nighttime awakenings. The study is the first to show sustained benefits in sleep quality from gabapentin, which Rochester researchers already have demonstrated alleviates hot flashes. "Gabapentin improves sleep quality but does not have the potential dependency problems of some other sleep medications and does not involve the use of hormone replacement therapy, " said Michael E. Yurcheshen, M.D., assistant professor of Neurology and the lead author of the article. "It has minimal side effects and it is a generic drug, " said Yurcheshen, who is based at the Strong Sleep Disorders Center. "That makes it a very attractive treatment for these problems in this patient population.

Endurance Training Benefits Postmenopausal Women As Much As Younger Women

Marilyn Graham was 56 when she signed up for a grueling hour of cycling each morning for 12 weeks, occasionally decked out in a mask, a heart monitor and a bag of intravenous fluid and subjected to needle pricks to obtain blood samples. "I was probably the biggest whiner of the group, complaining loudly about the seats and how my butt hurt, " said Graham, who writes software for business units on the University of California, Berkeley campus. "It was really intense, and on some days my legs felt like wet noodles. On a cranky day I'd say, 'Let me off this stupid bike! '" But once the training "kicked in, " she said, " I was feeling good. I had energy left over at the end of the day, less mental sluggishness. And I dropped two dress sizes without any weight loss." Graham's experience was typical of the 10 healthy but sedentary women, averaging 55 years of age, who participated in a 2006 study of endurance training in 50-something women. In two papers based on the experiments and published in recent months, UC Berkeley researchers report that postmenopausal women can achieve the same health benefits from regular, vigorous exercise as younger women do.

HRT Linked With Increased Risk Of Lung Cancer, Study Finds

Women who take hormone replacement therapy are nearly twice as likely to die from lung cancer, according to a study published in the journal Lancet, the Los Angeles Times reports. The study expands on the initial results of the landmark Women's Health Initiative. One finding of the WHI was that a combination treatment of estrogen and progestin might have an effect on lung cancer. The WHI, which involved more than 16, 000 women, also aimed to explore the benefits of combined estrogen and progestin therapy on menopause symptoms and whether it could lower the risk of heart attack and stroke. However, researchers ended the HRT portion of the study prematurely after about five-and-one-half years when they found that the treatment increased the risk for breast cancer, heart disease and stroke. For the new study, Rowan Chlebowski, a physician at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, and colleagues analyzed WHI data for two and one-half years after women stopped taking HRT.

Cost Of Noncompliance Revealed By Study Of Adjuvant Endocrine Treatment For Breast Cancer

The largest study in the world of treatments for post menopausal, hormone positive breast cancer has shown that patients who continue to take exemestane or tamoxifen do significantly better than patients who start to take one or other drug (or tamoxifen followed exemestane) but then stop. Professor Cornelis van de Velde, principal investigator at the central data office for TEAM (tamoxifen exemestane adjuvant multinational) trial told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 - ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin on 22 September that differences in compliance between the nine countries involved in the trial shed light on the role that it played in patient outcome. "In the Dutch/Belgian part of the TEAM trial, more patients were node positive compared to those in other countries (and were therefore at higher risk of recurrences), because the existing Dutch treatment guidelines (which have since been changed) indicated that only 'high risk' patients should receive chemotherapy, endocrine treatment or both.

Karo Bio Announces That Merck Co., Inc. Plans To Proceed With Phase II Clinical Evaluation Of Candidate Compound

The Swedish biotech company Karo Bio (Reuters: KARO.ST) announced that Merck & Co., Inc., through an affiliate, plans to enter a clinical phase IIa trial with the collaboration's lead investigational drug candidate, MK-6913, identified as part of their joint research collaboration. No milestone payment to Karo Bio is associated with the initiation of phase II clinical development. The randomized, double-blind, placebo- and active-controlled study will assess the safety, tolerability, and efficacy of MK-6913 for the treatment of moderate-to-very-severe vasomotor symptoms (hot flashes/hot flushes) in postmenopausal women. It is estimated that 300 patients will be enrolled in the study. ''We strongly believe that novel compounds targeting the estrogen receptor continue to hold great potential in the field of women's health", commented Per Olof Wallstr m, President & CEO of Karo Bio. The collaboration with Merck targets estrogen receptors with the aim to develop novel treatments in the field of women's health.

Long-Term Survival Improved By Switching Early Breast Cancer Patients To Exemestane

New research has found that switching post-menopausal women with early breast cancer to the drug exemestane ( Aromasin ) after two or three years of tamoxifen rather than keeping them on tamoxifen for five years improves the chance of remaining cancer free and reduces the risk of death for at least the next six years. "These findings have confirmed that the strategy of switching to exemestane mid-way through the five-year tamoxifen treatment plan provides a clear and durable benefit for relapse and overall survival, " the study's leader, Professor Charles Coombes, head of oncology at Imperial College in London, told Europe's largest cancer congress, ECCO 15 - ESMO 34 [1], in Berlin on 22 September. "We found that six years after changing treatment, women who got exemestane were 18% more likely to remain disease free and were 14% less likely to die than those who stayed on tamoxifen." Breast cancer is the leading cancer in women, with 1.29 million cases diagnosed worldwide every year.

Rheumatoid Arthritis And Osteoporosis May Be Reversed By Experimental Approach

Researchers have identified a mechanism that may keep a well known signaling molecule from eroding bone and inflaming joints, according to an early study published online in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Bone is continually recycled to maintain its strength through the competing action of osteoclasts, cells that break down aging bone, and osteoblasts, which build new bone. Osteoclasts also play a central role in common diseases that erode bone, where two signaling molecules, TNF and RANKL, cause too much bone breakdown. Both are known to turn on the nuclear factor kappa B complex (NF- B), which turns on genes that cause the stem cell precursors of osteoclasts to mature and start eating bone. While both TNF and RANKL encourage bone loss, the current study argues that TNF and RANKL have different effects on levels of a key inhibitory protein within the NF- B pathway called NF- B p100, with important consequences for drug design. The NF- B pathway as a whole signals for more active osteoclasts, but NF- B p100 (p100) interferes with the ability of that same pathway to pass on the bone loss signal.

Hormone Therapy And Mammograms

Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) are recommending that menopausal women on hormone therapy (HT) continue their treatment prior to having their annual mammogram screenings. These recommendations appear as an editorial in the current on-line issue of Journal of the North American Menopause Society. Annual mammography screening is credited with a significant reduction in breast cancer mortality in women older than 50, and is considered a pillar of routine healthcare maintenance in most populations. Sensitivity, specificity, and optimal performance of mammography depend on a number of variables including breast density. While subjective and objective increases in mammographic breast density have been reported in up to 30 percent of postmenopausal women taking HT, the majority of women in this age group have low breast densities to start with and the magnitude of the increase with HT is small in most. Furthermore, improvements in screening technologies (digital mammography) have shown promise in overcoming hindrances in denser breasts.

Women Who Are Sexually Satisfied Have Better General Well-Being And More Vitality

Pre- and post-menopausal women who self-rated themselves as being sexually satisfied had a higher overall psychological well-being score and scores for "positive well-being" and "vitality, " compared with sexually dissatisfied women in a study of 295 women sexually active more than twice a month. The study, published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, also uncovered a positive association between age and well-being, but a negative association for general health. The most commonly reported sexual problems in the area of consensual sexuality in women relate to sexual desire and interest, pleasure and satisfaction, and for most women these are part of the overall sexual experience, and are inextricably related. In contrast to studies of interventions for male erectile dysfunction, benefit of treatment in women with sexual dysfunction cannot be measured simply by the frequency of sexual events, as women frequently continue to be sexually active despite a high level of sexual dissatisfaction.

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